Friday, June 12, 2009

Canine Cancer: FDA Approves The First Drug to Treat Cancer in Dogs

Pfizer's Palladia - The first canine cancer drug ever!

Here’s another good news for dog lovers and their dogs! It wasn’t until June 3, 2009 that the dog world people had been struck with such a great surprise. The Food and Drug Administration of America announced the approval of the first canine cancer medicine ever on Friday, June 3, 2009. ‘Palladia’ (toceranib phosphate), the first cancer treating drug for dogs created a buzz across the globe – especially revolutionized the veterinary world. Good news is that the now the dog owners got something to fight cancer in their dogs, but bad news is that it cannot treat all types of cancers in dogs.

canine cancer, cancer in dogs, cancers in dogs‘Palladia’, manufactured by Pfizer Animal Health Inc., New York City, can treat only the cutaneous mast cell tumors (MCT), which is a type of cancerous tumor, which is commonly found in about 1 out of 5 canine cutaneous tumors. ‘Palladia’ has been approved to treat the cutaneous mast cell tumors with or without regional lymph nodes involvement. Al the cancer drugs that have been in use for the veterinary purpose so far were all developed to be used for humans and not for animals. Until Palladia surged into the market canine cancer were treated with steroids and antihistamines and various oncology drugs for human. As allowed by the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994, the cancer treatments meant for the veterinary purpose are used in an “extra-level” manner. Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine said: "This cancer drug approval for dogs is an important step forward for veterinary medicine. Prior to this approval, veterinarians had to rely on human oncology drugs, without knowledge of how safe or effective they would be for dogs. Today's approval offers dog owners, in consultation with their veterinarian, an option for treatment of their dog's cancer."

How Palladia Works?

Remember, the mast cells have a positive role to play for dogs. The mast cells help to protect dogs from allergies and inflammation. But if over-stimulated, they discharge certain chemicals, like heparin, histamine, prostaglandins and serotonin, which damage the dogs’ immunity system. Unfortunately, what causes the tumors to turn to be cancerous is still not discovered. Palladia (toceranib phosphate) is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor and works in two distinctive ways:

  • Its kills the tumors cells and makes the tumor disappear or stop growing further
  • It cut off the supply of blood to the tumor region and makes it disappear or stop growing.
In a clinical test, Palladia proved to be one of the most effective drugs by showing shrinkage in the tumor. A radical difference has been witnessed when compared with Placebo.
Palladia has brought a radical change in the veterinary science, but its not devoid of side effects. The most common and probable side effects associated with Palladia are lameness, diarrhea, decrease or loss of appetite, weight loss and sometimes blood in the stool.

Cancerous mast cell tumors are actually categorized into three grades according to severity....
  • Grade I MCT is least severe and limited to just a tumor itself with no risk.
  • Grade II MCT is when the tumor begins to metastasize, but it’s still considered treatable.
  • Grade III MCT is when the tumors becomes aggressive and spreads through the lymph glands to the other parts of the dogs’ body.
Palladia is actually meant for Grade II and III.

Buzz this


jbarbeau July 23, 2009 at 2:52 PM  

So where in the world DO YOU GET IT! THIS is frustrating. I have a dog who really needs this, but I can't afford to see a vet, and it's at least an option to try.

If anyone has an answer email me at

Arings July 24, 2009 at 3:42 AM  

Thanks jbarbeau for placing a comment in my blog.

At the moment Palladia is available through boarded veterinarians. Eventually, Palladia will be made available in the open market widely through the non-boarded vets, likely in the early phase of 2010. George Fennell, vice president, Companion Animal Division, Pfizer Animal Health said: "In the weeks and months ahead, Pfizer will introduce Palladia to boarded specialists to expand the body of clinical experience with this new therapy. The experience gained during this time will enable us to support veterinarians more effectively when we make the product available for purchase in early 2010."

Anonymous,  July 28, 2009 at 10:27 AM  

Try one of the bigger vet school university clinics in your area, they will have the specialists that Pfizer is giving the drug to prior to general release. You may get it free if they are conducting a trial.

jbarbeau July 28, 2009 at 12:06 PM  

Thank you for your concern and the information. We need to get this on the Internet more. When you search "How to I get Palladia" "Where to get Palladia".. you need to find the information you just gave me. My dog unfortunately passed last night.

I would have tried Palladia a long time ago, but just found it in the last couple of weeks, maybe a month. I've been looking, but I just could find any sources.

Anonymous,  October 8, 2009 at 1:41 PM  

Are there risks to other dogs living in the same house who share water and toys? We have an opportunity to treat our dog with the Palladia but worry about severe isolation from her buddies and from us. bigdobe

Anonymous,  October 9, 2009 at 6:04 AM  

I wonder if Pfizer could direct you to a Palladia source in your area. bigdobe

Arings,  October 9, 2009 at 10:56 AM  

Hi bigdobe,
Not all kinds of carcinomas are contagious. But prevention is always better!

Arings,  October 9, 2009 at 10:59 AM  

Tru, Pfizer couldn't direct me to a Palladia source in and around my locality

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